Back in December, the NCAA issued a staff interpretation that allowed institutions to pay expenses for a prospect to send his or her transcripts to the Eligibility Center if the prospect had signed an NLI, financial aid agreement, or paid a deposit. That interpretation has already been archived in favor of a more expansive official interpretation:
The committee determined that it is permissible for an institution to provide expenses (e.g., transcript fee, express delivery charges) for a prospective student-athlete’s institution to send his or her academic transcript to the institution or the NCAA Eligibility Center and to pay the fee for a prospective student-athlete’s ACT or SAT score to be sent from the testing agency to the institution, provided the prospective student-athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent or the institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid or the institution has received his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission.
This is especially helpful when a prospect has left this work late and the costs include rush service or overnighting transcripts. It also means that schools could choose to take care of these costs for recruited or scholarship athletes, reducing the cost of getting cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Those costs can currently run to well over $100 total. This is one step closer to eventually eliminating all costs associated with becoming a qualifier.